Monday, July 15, 2013

Nail Polish Review: My First Julep Maven Box

I have a problem with nail polish.

Mostly I buy too much of it.

But also, I switch colors almost daily.

Which leads to me having to like deep condition my nails with cuticle oil and lotion and scrubs and other expensive concoctions, and having to buy a ton of polish.

But nail polish is expensive, and I am a grad student. So when I realized that Julep, whose polishes are about $14 each, had a monthly box (like Birchbox, which I just signed up for!) that came with two polishes, a full sized product, and samples, I was in.

Their website is super easy to use, and I became a "Maven" pretty easily.

Basically what you do is take a little quiz that determines what type of style you have, at least in nail polish. With questions like, "Which of these would you wear all year?" and "Which of these hairstyles do you like best?" this isn't going to determine what you should do with your life or how to achieve world peace, but I think it's pretty accurate for figuring out what type of nail polish you'll probably like. I got the "Classic with a Twist" which is absolutely right, with a second type of "Bombshell," which, yeah, not today, but when I go out, I'd agree with that. And if you don't like the type you got, you can always switch, either that day or later.

Then you give them your email address, pay them $20, or $5ish for shipping for your first one if they send you a code for a free box, which I got, and they mail you a box. It usually comes within 3-5 days.

This is the box I got:

In it I had a cute little welcome note, some cuticle oil, two full-size polishes, and a little packet of hand exfoliator. 

Here's the cuticle oil:

Basically you take the little rollerball and roll it over your cuticles and the sides of your nails everyday. So far I really like it. It's not super gross oily, and I have really dry cuticles, and skin in general, so it helps me not have to put lotion on constantly and keeps the skin around my nails from cracking. 

I used to bite my nails really bad, and still have a habit of messing with the skin around them, so this is definitely worthwhile. Plus, since it's $18 for this, $14 for each polish, and a little free sample, that $46 just for what's in the $20 ($5 this time) box. So it's a great value, especially if you wear nail polish like I do and if you get bored and go crazy buying polish every time you go to Walgreens or Sephora or Target or anywhere that has nail polish to sell. 

The exfoliator is really nice - it's a small (I got 2 uses out of it, but I have child sized hands - like the Burger King commercial where the guy can't hold the Whopper small) packet of the Glycolic Hand Scrub. It smells really good, sort of fruity, which makes sense since it has apricot in it. I'm not usually really big into scrubs since I have pretty sensitive skin, but this didn't burn at all. It left my skin a little pink, but even 24 hours after using it the last time I can still tell a difference. 

Here's a selfie of my hands after I used it:

This one my hand looks super pink, and it was immediately after. Almost concerningly so, but I think it's a combo of the scrub being pretty scrub-y (yeah...grammar...) and me being super pail and sensitive skinned. Oh, and I'm wearing OPI "Did You Ear About Van Gogh?". Classic and punny.

Here's about 5 minutes after. Still a little pink, and they stayed that way for probably 20 more minutes, even after I put lotion on, but today the skin is really soft and even. 

Here's me at my freakishly pale best. At work. With my Lilly Phi Mu cup and flowered sunglasses. I'm that girl. 

The skin on my hands is still really smooth, and I noticed a big difference around my nails. I haven't felt like I've needed to put as much lotion on as usual.

I think with regular use this product would be really helpful, especially if you've got very dry skin or work with your hands a lot - I do a lot of working with papers and old books, so I may give the full-size one a try and do it on a regular basis. 

I also got two colors with the box, a khaki-yellow color called Kennedy that is one of the "Classic with a Twist" colors, and a bubblegum pink color called Niecey. 

Here's Niecey (a name I absolutely loathe, but whatevs, I'll deal): 


Yowza. That's pink. 

Here it is on:

*I literally stubbed my toe 2 hours ago, and yeah, I need to reapply. Real life reviews here! And sorry about my gnarly feet - my nails just don't grow, and when they do, I inevitably hurt myself. 

I actually find this color almost exactly like my Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure "Back to the Fuschia." I sometimes buy colors just for the names, but this one is actually a really pretty bright pink. 


Even the consistency is similar, which I like a little less, since I found this color in both to be a little goopy. Not bad, but definitely dripped some on the floor while trying to do my nails, and it feels sort of gummy, even dry. 

They also sent me Kennedy, which I thought I would hate: 


It's kind of a weird khaki color in the bottle, but when I put it on, it was more of a yellowish-khaki. And, surprisingly, I really liked it. 

It looks a little more yellow in this pic, but this is as close as I can get to real color:

*still trying to grow my nails out after the breaking them all incident and having to cut them in London. Sad. 

This is the pic from their site, but I think it's got the blue turned up a bit. The color is definitely more yellow in real life. 


So I'm pretty happy with the colors. I think the pink is just kind of a normal hot pink, but the Kennedy is a really unique color. And it's less sticky than the Niecey. 

Overall, I really like the Julep Maven box. They have a nice points system where you can earn points from referrals, and the colors are interesting. We'll see how long I stick with it, but for now it's keeping me from making impulse polish buys, and the new colors every month, some of which I like and some of which I'm sure I'll give away, are a nice surprise. Plus it's a good value, and all of the supplement products are really nice. 

Also, I feel like, even though this isn't part of the Maven program, I just need this: 


Yeah, it's a Fifty Shades of Grey nail polish set. And yes, most of the tie-ins to that book (see what I did there?) are awful. Like these (which I apparently deleted from my phone and now only exist in the world of instagram...):
These were at Claire's. You know, the store tweens get their ears pierced at. Ummmm....

Also, just because, this happened once, in Batesville, AR: 

I'm just gonna leave that there.

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